So some of you might know that our Berkshire pig herd is part of the Humane Handling Certification program. Of course we were already raising our pigs humanely when they were a hobby, so it wasn’t hard to tweak our operation to exceed the HHC rules and guidelines.
Here are some pictures of our newly renovated farrowing barn/baby nursery. Normally we would have large farrowing pens for each sow to have her babies in as per the HHC handbook, but we decided to do a large experiment with this batch of 3 sows within the new barn.
We will leave the girls in together, without pens, to have babies in a hopefully happy sisterly bunch.
We did take their penning down partway after the last time these girls all had their piglets, and it went very well. Lots of co-nursing and co-mothering, and nobody got trampled. But they started out with pens, so that was still different.
I will be taking notes and spending extra time out there with them to see how they do.
The babies will have heat lamps, of course, and Beekeeper/Builder Tom is building the babies a shallow “playpen” for sleeping in while they are newborns, just so they are safe from being stepped on accidentally and will stay warm. I have actually been “training” our previous babies to go right to their heat lamp nest inbetween meals, and according to a pig site I’ve been on a lot lately, piglets can be trained this way within 4-6 hours!
So this will be the (I think) very first group piggie birthing building that we know of.
Wish us luck, and we’ll keep everyone posted once the babies arrive in the next few days.
PS-That’s Elsa sitting on her brisket looking right at the camera. She loves having her picture taken.
Lisa and the Pigs